This post was inspired after reading Holly Hoffman’s excellent post, The Recession Economy Forces Your Hand, where she writes about the fears and frustration of her job being affected by the economy.
I work for a small firm doing IT and the possibility of getting downsized definitely worries me. I’ve said it many times to my friends, if we have three bad months in row, people are getting pink slips, and if we have six bad months in a row, they’ll lock the doors on us. It’s pretty scary. I hope like hell it doesn’t happen, but I have to be a realist and prepare myself for the worst.
Here’s what I would do to protect myself. First off, I have a second part-time job. I do some sports coaching in the evenings and it only requires three hours of my time per day (two hours of work, one hour of driving). The second job pays decently, just enough that if I got laid off and had NO OTHER revenue streams I could pay for rent and food.
The second thing I would do is freelance IT and web development. I did this over the summer to varying degrees of success, so I know at the very least there is a market for my services. I would use sites like Elance and Guru to find gigs. I would also leverage my social networks and my old and current clients for leads. I currently have three freelance clients that I maintain, and I estimate that if I had 12 solid clients I could make up for the lost revenue from the job. So, it’s really an issue of marketing and hustling to get the clients in the door.
I would scour craigslist ads for one-off tech gigs to make a few bucks. Surprisingly, I’ve done a few decent gigs in the past that made me $75 to $150 a pop. It’s not glamourous and not great money, but it’s good in a pinch.
On top of that, I would send out like 50 emails a day to law firms, doctor’s offices, plastic surgeons, Realtors, Foundations, non-profits, dealerships, tech companies, and every small and medium sized business I could find, offering them my tech services. I would certainly email other bloggers and spread my name far and wide. If anyone needed anything I couldn’t do it, I would sell the lead to someone who could.
While all that was going on, I would launch a couple of sites and blogs based around my services and market the crap out of myself over the Internet. I would Twitter, Facebook, and Friendfeed. I would pump out good content and position myself as an authority in my various niches. At some point, I would monetize the sites and start bringing in passive income.
Eventually, I’d establish a portfolio of clients and sites, all with their own revenue streams, so that even if one portion of the portfolio went down, I’d still be in good shape. There would be no pink slip. In the mean time, I’d still do that coaching gig because I love it.
So that’s what I would do. Come to think of it, I should do it anyway and stop working for the man!!
What Do I Do?
I’m a WordPress expert and I specialize in Web strategy, Internet marketing, SEO, and social media. If you’re reading this post and happen to need those services, please email me at lance at honeyandlance [dot] com and I’ll give you a free hour of consultation.
Some other resources to consider if you’re like me and might get downsized: